Markets are volatile into the close

In yet another reflection of the fragility of financial markets, what was expected to be a rare green day for the FTSE is becoming increasingly likely to turn red once more, as oil prices tumble in the wake of the US crude inventory number. 

Source: Bloomberg

A mix of strong Chinese trade data overnight, and an indication that Russian crude output could be cut in the coming months, managed to provide a lift with US crude prices rising relatively calmly and consistently. However, much like a house of cards, something that took the whole day to build has been blown down in the space of five minutes.

The fact that a lower than expected US crude inventories figure would typically be supportive for oil prices, goes to show that for now the oil market is finding buyers hard to come by in the face of such intense selling.

China is once more on the agenda for global policymakers, with the European Commission deciding against providing the Asian powerhouse with the ‘market economy’ status it so craves. The decision to enter the yuan into the IMF’s SDR seems like it occurred just yesterday, yet the Chinese are clearly pushing hard to show the world they are a developed nation worthy of a seat at any table.

Unfortunately this comes at a time when world markets are tumbling, largely at the hands of Chinese stock market unpredictability and economic slowdown in the region.

Given that the decision to grant this ‘market economy’ status would lead to the reduction in tariffs, thus increasing competition for European  producers, it is completely understandable that this is not perceived as a good time to grant such a wish.

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